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Müller to start

Heynckes expecting "awkward" Hannover

Jupp Heynckes appears relaxed ahead of the final push at the end of 2017. The defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach is already in the past and the focus is now on the home game against Hannover on Saturday (kick-off 15:30 CET, coverage available via our live ticker). The reason for his relaxed attitude, however, is definitely not because Bayern host a promoted team at the Allianz Arena.

“They’ve started the season brightly,” the 72-year-old warned of the tenth-placed side. “They’re awkward to face and a team who put in the yards with a defined style of play and smart attacking play. It won’t be as easy as some people think.” Nevertheless, Heynckes is looking forward to the game against his former club, which certainly has something to do with the “pleasing news” of the last few days.

Alaba and Ribery are options

The treble-winning coach will once again have some fresh faces at his disposal against Hannover. Rafinha (ankle), James Rodriguez (light concussion) and Thomas Müller (torn muscle) have all recovered from their respective injuries and are available once again. Heynckes even spoke of an immediate return to the starting XI for the latter: “We saw the old Müller again in training this week. Thomas is just radiating ambition. I’m glad to have him back again. He’ll start tomorrow,” the head coach explained.

David Alaba (back problems) and Franck Ribery (knee) are also possibilities for the squad on Saturday. “We’ll see how they are after training and wait for the green light from the medical team before including them,” Heynckes added. That means Arjen Robben, Juan Bernat and Manuel Neuer are the only definite absentees.

Great respect for Hannover

"We have more options now,” Heynckes stressed ahead of the game against Hannover, who kick off Bayern’s final push before the new year. And this match threatens to be a cracker in the run-up to Christmas following the visitors’ recent impressive performances, which the champions need to take note of: “They have a strong construct,” said Mats Hummels in praise before Sebastian Rudy added, “They’ve shown that they can compete after promotion.”

After beginning the season well with a six-match unbeaten run, Hannover have dropped off recently, losing four of their last seven (2 wins, 1 draw). Coach Andre Breitenreiter is also now plagued by a number of injury concerns. The possibility of Pirmin Schwegler featuring is "nigh on impossible”. Striker Jonathas is also ruled out, while Ihlas Bebou and Martin Harnik are additional doubts.